Weekend recap: Volleyball earns 20th straight win while soccer struggles


Photo courtesy of Alex Mowrey/Pitt Athletics

Gabriela Rezende is one of four seniors on the Pitt women’s tennis team, which will play its last season this spring.

By Griffin Floyd, Staff Writer

Overall, Pitt sports had an up-and-down weekend with some outstanding individual performances, some strong team wins and some demoralizing losses. The baseball team opened its fall schedule with a runaway victory, but the women’s soccer team struggled against a powerhouse opponent.

Women’s Tennis

The women’s tennis team continued its fall season with the ITA Women’s Atlantic Regional Championships. Hosted by Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, the Panthers competed against 32 other teams in a format similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament — a singles and a doubles bracket, both beginning with 64 teams.

Despite not bringing home a victory, several Panthers acquitted themselves well in the event. Sophomore Camila Moreno opened the qualifying round with a tight 7-6 set before winning 6-0 to seed herself in the round of 16, as did senior Gabriela Rezende. Rezende swept both of her opponents on the day, winning 6-4 and 6-3 in both cases. Moreno was unable to advance, unfortunately, losing in the round of 16 in a competitive sweep, 6-4 and 6-3.

Both Moreno and Rezende were successful in doubles as well, as Rezende and her partner Natsumi Okamoto made it to the round of 16. Moreno, along with first-year Mariona Perez Noguera, made it to the round of 32. The Panthers will finish their fall season the weekend of Nov. 2 at the Brown Classic in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cross Country

The men’s and women’s Cross Country teams competed at the Penn State National Open on Friday, their second of three visits to Happy Valley this year. The women’s team came in 21st place out of a field of 28 teams, led by junior Sam Shields with a time of 21:17 in the 6K. The men’s team came in 17th out of 21 teams in the 5.2 mile race. Junior harrier Nick Wolf was the top performer for the Panthers, finishing in 28th place with a time of 25:37. The Panthers’ next meet will be the ACC championships, hosted by Boston College on Oct. 26.


The Pitt volleyball team extended its best start in team history to 20 wins this weekend on the Carolina roadtrip against UNC and NC State.

The Panthers won handily against the Tar Heels in a 3-0 sweep, with sets of 25-13, 25- 17 and 25-16 to begin the trip. Sophomore Chinaza Ndee had a breakout performance at UNC with 12 kills, a team high for the night.

The NC State Wolfpack provided a much stiffer test for the Panthers, as no match was won by more than five points. Senior Kamalani Akeo was the difference-maker in this game, notching 28 assists in an effort to counter the Wolfpack’s stifling defense.

The Panthers won in four sets, winning the first 25-22 before dropping the second by an identical score. They won 25-20 in the third, the largest margin of victory on the day, before closing the game with a 25-23 set. The Panthers, who are now four wins short of the longest winning streak in team history, will face Notre Dame on Friday, Oct. 19, and Louisville on Oct. 21 in an upcoming homestand.

Men’s Soccer

The men’s soccer team faced the Virginia Tech Hokies on the road on Friday, Oct. 12. Pitt scored just 51 seconds into the match as senior Javi Perez capitalized off of a penalty kick. The lead was short lived, however, as the Panthers shot themselves in the foot with an own goal just 42 seconds later.

First-year goalkeepers Johan Penaranda and Alexander Steinbach each played a half. Penaranda was perfect beyond the own goal, but the Hokies were able to get to Steinbach early in the second half, scoring two goals in the first five minutes of the period as the Panthers fell 3-1. The Panthers’ next game — following their match against the Temple Owls on Monday, Oct. 15 — is on the road against Duke in a critical ACC matchup on Friday, Oct. 19.

Women’s Soccer

The rebuilding women’s team had a difficult weekend, facing No. 6 Virginia on the road. It was heavily outclassed in the matchup, losing 7-0. The Cavaliers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 13 minutes of the game and never looked back. Pitt players were held to just one shot on goal by the opposing team’s stifling defense, and three Cavaliers goalies contributed to the combined shutout.

The Panthers have an upcoming homestand, facing No. 13 Florida State on Oct. 18 and Notre Dame on Oct. 21. The team is now 4-9-1 on the season, but it does not have a road win and is 0-7 in the ACC.


The Pitt baseball team began its fall ball slate with a resounding 21-3 victory against the Toronto Mets, a Canadian minor league team. The Panthers jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the opening inning, highlighted by senior outfielder Connor Perry’s grand slam. Three home runs in the bottom of the fourth, including Perry’s second of the day, stretched the lead to 15-0.

Toronto broke up the shutout in the sixth inning, but there was little they could do as the Panthers cruised to victory. Sophomore Chris Cappas got the start for the Panthers, but no pitcher had to see more than an inning of work in the blowout win. The team will play its second of three games on Oct.19 against Youngstown State.

Swimming and Diving

The men’s and women’s swim and dive teams faced the George Washington Colonials at Trees Pool, with both teams winning comfortably. Panther swimmers came in first in the vast majority of their races as the men won 199-93. One particularly dramatic finish was the 200M relay as sophomore anchor Blaise Vera broke the 20-second barrier for his stretch of the race. For the women, it was true freshman Amy Read who had a big performance, scoring 30 points more than her next-closest competitor in the 1-meter dive as the women won 199-96. The teams will travel to face the University of Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 20.